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Gaming History You Should Know – History of the Apple I August 1, 2021

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Welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced videos on the history of video games. Today, we’re going Old School, and talking about one of the very first Personal Computers. In fact, this may be the FIRST computer ever made that could be considered worthy of the term PC. Before the iPhone, iPad, Mac or even the Lisa was a thing, Apple was just a small business trying to create a computer they could sell to regular people.

Steve Wozniak, who I will henceforth refer to as “The Woz”, designed and constructed Apple’s first computer on his own time. It used custom processors in a configuration that revolutionized anything other companies were doing at the time. After getting rejections from every major company who might’ve had a legal claim to his work, Woz and Steve Jobs moved on to create the computers themselves. The company would go on to be called Apple and as of this day is one of the most successful companies in the world.

The 8-Bit Guy did this fascinating look at the original Apple Computer, affectionately dubbed the Apple-I. Enjoy.

Gaming History You Should Know – The Sharp NES Television July 25, 2021

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Welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced content on the history of games. While I always make sure to prioritize space for my big screen TVs and game consoles, other people are not so lucky. Today’s modern SmartTVs work by integrating online services like Netflix and Prime without the need to buy a separate Chromecast or AppleTV. Back in the day, it wouldn’t be uncommon to see televisions with integrated DVD players, or before that you would see combination TVs with VHS players. Most people remember at least one person who had a tv like that, but did you know you could’ve gotten a brand-new TV with a built-in game console as early as the 90s?

One of the first major rare items I can think of when it comes to gaming history was the Sharp Game Television. Not too much is known about its development but these TVs are just iconic, and a reminder of an era when the Nintendo Entertainment System ruled the gaming landscape. It was essentially a 19” television with a built-in NES. In the early 90s, that was all some people needed.

YouTube Channel Nintendrew has created what I believe is the definitive history and analysis of this TV. He also dispels some serious myths I’ve heard about since forever. Give it a watch!

Gaming History You Should Know – Donkey Kong Country Dissection July 11, 2021

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It’s Sunday, and this is the long-awaited return of Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced gaming documentaries across the internet. As a person who grew up playing games almost exclusively on the PC, I never owned an SNES or Nintendo 64. Quite a shame, as in the mid-90s, Nintendo was in the middle of a renaissance reinventing what they could do with their classic properties for the 90s. Games like Super Metroid and Link to the Past not just revolutionized the games that came before them, but set a new standard for gaming later games would have to meet. But what do you do when you have a character like Donkey Kong?

Donkey Kong, created by Shigeru Miyamoto, was an arcade game which put you into the shoes of the iconic Jumpman (later named Mario) where you had to tangle with the titular Donkey Kong in a quest to save your girlfriend, Pauline. It was a great game for its time, but by the 90s it would be the character of Mario that Nintendo was known for, not Donkey Kong. To bring DK back into his rightful place of Nintendo’s pantheon, Nintendo needed to create a new Donkey Kong game for the 90s. They tasked the studio Rare, who brought in SGI 3D-graphics workstations that could create a game to win back players’ to the great ape. The game would be called Donkey Kong Country and it would be a tremendous success.

YouTube star MistareFusion, who I’ve been inspired by ever since I saw his comparison of the original Power Rangers shows with the Sentai it was based on, produced this great video about the classic game. He covers it’s history, the technical aspects about the game and what made it so ground breaking for the time. It’s a great look back into the era and I totally recommend giving it a watch.

Donkey Kong Country is out now for the SNES. It can be played on the Nintendo Switch as part of the Nintendo Switch Online service.

Gaming History You Should Know – The Nokia N-Gage June 6, 2021

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It’s Sunday! Welcome back to another Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced content focused on the history of gaming. Nowadays, it’s common to play a high quality game on your portable phone, but 17 years ago that just wasn’t possible. Today, we’re going to highlight one of gaming’s biggest missteps of all time, where a major company just jumped too early and it eventually cost them everything.

Let me set the scene for you guys. It was E3 2003. I was an 18-year old kid attending his first E3. While I was there to preview the PC games, I was exposed to everything the show had to offer (and it was GLORIOUS!). In 2003, when it came to handheld gaming, Nintendo was sitting on the top of the mountain with Game Boy Advance partially due to the incredible success of games like Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. Cell phones were starting to take off, with almost everyone that year having a personal one small enough to fit in their pocket. One of the biggest cell phone makers at the time was a company called NOKIA, which enjoyed a enormous market share due to their simple yet well-made handsets.

In 2003, a common cell phone was small, would last about a day on a single charge, could make calls and send simple text messages, and be a calculator. That was about it. If you wanted to play games on the go, you needed either a laptop or a GBA, and that would mean carrying another thing in your pocket along with your wallet and phone. At E3 2003, NOKIA announced they would change all that, and announced they were making a cell phone that could play games, and it would be called the N-Gage.

When the N-Gage eventually released it was a total flop. In fact, to say it flopped would be an understatement of the year, it flopped HARD! The price dropped almost immediately, and a hardware revision rushed to market, but it was all for naught. The handheld didn’t sell, and gamers went on to buy the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP instead. What happened?

Derek Alexander, host of the YouTube Channel Stop Skeletons From Fighting, has just produced what I would consider the definitive history of the N-Gage. If you ever wanted to see what would happen when a company does it WRONG, you need to watch this.

If you asked me, I don’t believe NOKIA ever really recovered from the N-Gage failure. The company went on to make a few more bad business decisions like partnering with MS to make nothing but Windows Phones at a time only iPhone and Android phones were selling, and that was that.

Gaming History You Should Know – Sega’s Genesis Modem May 30, 2021

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It’s Sunday, welcome back to a new Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best and most important independently produced gaming documentaries from across the web. As a PC user back in the mid-90s, I was strongly aware of the fact that I could use my PC to play games with people all over the world. Since high-speed internet utilities did not exist for residential consumers at that time, the only way I could get on the internet was with a telephone modem. For those of you who don’t know what that is, a modem would hook into a telephone land-line, and similar to how a FAX machine functions, and (depending on the configuration) transmits data either between two computers or one computer and their ISP. It was very slow, with even tiny downloads that would take hours, and very prone to disconnection but at the time it was the only way to play games online against people all over the world.

During the 16-Bit Gaming Wars, there were several attempts by console makers and their third-party hardware manufacturers to bring an online multiplayer experience to their game consoles. This was an interesting choice as game consoles typically supported two-to-four player gaming (depending on whoever else was on the couch with you at the time), and because of that online gaming was less of a priority. However, there were attempts. Today we are going to see the story of one of those attempts.

Enter Norman Caruso, better known as the Gaming Historian, with a documentary about the first attempt Sega made to bring a modem to their game console, the Genesis. If you had any interest in Japan’s gaming history, you need to give this video a watch!

As a person who lived in North America at the time, I vaguely remembered multiple attempts by Sega to incorporate a modem into their consoles over the years. The most successful of which was probably the modem that shipped with the Sega Dreamcast.

Gaming History You Should Know – The Cybiko May 23, 2021

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Welcome back to a new Gaming History You Should Know, where we share some of the biggest independent videos produced about gaming history from across the internet. Now, let me take you back over twenty years. In the late 90s, people like me needed access to the internet while on the go. Unlike how it is today with cellular modem equipped smartphones and tablets, in the late-90s portable internet access was not an easy prospect at that time. If you wanted to surf the web, you needed a Personal Computer. Laptops were an option, but they were more expensive than desktops and had worse performance. High speed networks and WiFi were not options for the vast majority of online users, and people like me were in a bit of a bind.

In this time, companies like Palm and heck even Apple were producing portable computing devices that fit in your pocket and were meant to be used while on the go. They were called the PDA, for Personal Digital Assistant. Unlike smartphones of the day which do not require full computers and can function independently, PDAs were dependent on occasionally being synced with a full PC for processes like application installations and backups.

The PDA, for the most part, were used by busy businessmen who needed to constantly be able to keep track of their schedules, write emails, and check things like their address book. They weren’t really meant for playing games, and because of that most young people were not interested in them. Portable gaming consoles like the Game Boy had been out for years at that point, and were the preferred portable electronic device for most young people.

But what if a company stepped forward and said they had created a PDA that was capable of doing most of the tasks meant for businesspeople, could wirelessly allow for simple text commutation between devices, and could support playing games? A company stepped forward and announced they made one, it was called the Cybiko. I actually had a Cybiko and remembered using it daily for about a year, but nobody else seems to remember it.

Enter YouTube pillar LGR, known for his Lazy Game Reviews of classic PC games and unusual hardware. He took a closer look at the Cybiko and all it’s relevant software of the time. See what he thought about it.

Gaming History You Should Know – The Unproduced Halo Movie May 16, 2021

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It’s Sunday! I know it’s been a while since we’ve published a new Gaming History You Should Know article. Let’s be honest, with its twentieth anniversary happening later this year, Halo is poised for an enormous return when Halo: Infinite launches on the PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. Due to the property’s extreme popularity, we have seen both live-action and animated adaptations of various Halo stories over the years through various means (direct-to-video, direct-to-streaming) but to this day there has never been a Halo feature film. But did you know there was going to be a Halo feature film in the mid-to-late 2000s. Two major movie studios (Universal Studios and the now defunct 20th Century Fox) paid for the film rights to the property. It would’ve been directed by Neil Blomkamp, produced by Peter Jackson and written by Alex Garland. The film was never made, although the team did eventually produce a short film with the props they made and used it to promote Halo 3. What happened? Well, read on and find out.

People who followed video games back in the late 2000s might remember Microsoft made a deal with Peter Jackson (the director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy) to produce a Halo feature film. Jackson chose Neil Blomkamp as a director, and after a successful bid by two major Hollywood studios, began working on the movie with the help of WETA studios. A script was written by Alex Garland, a full-sized drivable Warthog was constructed, plenty of game-accurate weapons were were built, and the film was supposedly off to the races…until it came to a complete stop.

You have to remember that the Halo film was produced at a time when Hollywood elites believed they knew better than anyone else, and since this was before Kevin Feige took over Marvel Studios and proved to everyone that was a complete lie, most major media let these Hollywood executives keep their delusions. Before Iron Man started a cinematic universe due to it being produced by competent people familiar with the property, if an adapted movie like Super Mario Bros was a critical or commercial flop, the popular narrative was it flopped due to it being based on a video game (with all the negative subtext that went along with it), not due to the fact that the people making the major executive decisions about the film had no comprehension of the source material they were adapting and instead made whatever vanity movie they wanted and slapped a popular name they purchased for pennies on the dollar on it.

Thankfully, Microsoft didn’t become one of the most successful companies in the world by staffing stupid people. They were proud of Halo’s success and wanted a feature film with their property on it to succeed. In fact, to this day there is supposedly a Halo Bible, which third-party storytellers can cite to when they are working in the Halo universe so stories do not contradict. From what I understand about the negotiations for the film, they broke down because Microsoft insisted the film studios treat the Halo property with respect, and not produce a film that contradicts the established Halo canon or was a Halo film in name only. The studios stupidly refused, and the project was cancelled.

The guys over at How Did This NOT Get Made produced a fantastic podcast about this cancelled film. They did a great job to make this podcast accessible by everyone who listens to it. They’re coming more from a film background than a video games one, but the hosts certainly have personal experience with playing Halo. It starts by talking about the career of producer Peter Jackson, then goes into the history of Halo and Bungie, finally culminating with the story of the cancelled film. If you’d like to listen to it, check it out here!

So what were the consequences of the film’s cancellation? The team took the props and vehicles that were produced for the film and created a short movie called Halo: Landfall to promote the release of Halo 3. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it below.

Jackson and Blomkamp then went on to make the modern sci-fi classic District 9, and other than some direct-to-streaming features that later got released on home video, to this day there has never been a Halo feature film. In fact, WETA’s Warthog was used in the live-action Halo story, Halo 4: Forward onto Dawn. That said, I did think it was a little fishy that the absolutely awful 2015 Fantastic Four (made by the defunct 20th Century Fox) had its climax take place in a setpiece that looked suspiciously similar to Halo 3’s Ark portal.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection is out now for Xbox One, PC, and Xbox Series X/S. Halo: Infinite is coming to PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S later this year.

Gaming History You Should Know – What Happened to America’s Electronics Stores April 4, 2021

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It’s Sunday, that means it is time for a new look at Gaming History You Should Know. In this series, we look at some of the best independently produced video content from across the web. Today, we will take you back to the recent past. Before the world had easy access to the internet, the most exciting way to learn about the latest technology was to go shopping…in a store. As late as thirty years ago, retail stores that sold electronic and computer equipment were plentiful and easy to come by. When you needed anything ranging from new software to a spare part, you could just go and pick it up. Fast forward to the year 2021, and almost all electronic retail stores are gone, forcing people to make almost all their purchases online.

What happened to all of these stores? Radio Shack, CompUSA, Circuit City, and now Fry’s are no longer with us. Was it poor management, economic factors, or something else? The 8-Bit Guy, one of my favorite channels on YouTube, took a look at all of these now-defunct stores and gives his own thoughts as to what happened to them.

Happy Easter!

Gaming History You Should Know – The Story Behind Those Pikachu Volkswagens, The PokePatrol March 28, 2021

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It’s Sunday, and given the fact that Spring has sprung and Easter is just a week away I decided it was time to talk about something yellow. Welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced gaming history videos from across the web. Fasten your seatbelts, we’ve got a great one for all of you today!

In 1998, The Pokémon Company was preparing to launch Pokémon in the United States. To get the word out, a special VHS tape was distributed to Nintendo Power subscribers and Toys R Us customers which gave a preview of all things Pokémon. Produced to appear like it existed in the Pokémon world, the VHS tape previewed the new television series, the upcoming games, and the toys.

Towards the end of the VHS tape, Ash’s Aunt Hillary announced a fleet of Pikachu-Themed Volkswagen Beetles, dubbed by fans as the “PokéPatrol”, would be driving across the country and hosting exclusive Pokémon events wherever they stopped. These cars looked cool as hell, and since the event concluded they have gained an almost iconic status alongside the early days of Pokémon fandom.

Sadly, despite the fact that these cars were launched twenty years ago, there isn’t a lot of information about the PokéPatrol. Where did they come from? Where did they visit? What could you do at one of their events? And finally, what happened to them? Pokémon researcher and historian Mewisme700 has done fantastic history videos on the early years of Pokémon. Her video on the history of these original Pokémon Volkswagen cars is second to none. You don’t get much more yellow than this.

Special thanks to Mewisme700 for letting us feature their work here today. If you’re interested in seeing more of her work, she’s done some great early Pokémon history videos including this video about the history of the (now closed) Pokemon Center New York. Everyone should give her channel a watch!

Gaming History You Should Know – History of Metal Gear March 14, 2021

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Happy Sunday welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know. Traditionally, we highlight some of the best independently produced gaming documentaries from across the web and we’ve got a great documentary to highlight for you guys today!

I don’t have much of a chance to talk about it on the site these days, but I owe a lot of my love and interest in console gaming to the original PS1 game Metal Gear Solid. From the first moment I played the introduction demo over at my cousin’s house and saw the game’s story and presentation laid out over the first hour of the game I was absolutely hooked. I broke my “never console only PC” rule and picked up a PS1 of my own so I could play the game for myself and never regretted it. I unlocked both endings and even earned the tuxedo suit. However, after completing everything I could in the game I found myself wanting more. I needed to know if there would be a sequel so in late 1999 I devoted myself to learning more about the game and the history of the people who made it.

On the first day of E3 2000, I was one of the first people to view the Metal Gear Solid 2 announcement trailer, and from then on I followed the gaming industry with great interest. More games would follow, and we would also receive ports and remasters over the years. If you ever wanted a complete history of the Metal Gear series, Channel Requires DLC has an ongoing series called From Pixels to Polygons, where they’ve highlighted the history of franchises ranging from Legend of Zelda to Metroid. Today, we’re going to highlight their video about one of my favorite franchises of all time, Metal Gear Solid. Take a look:

Hope you enjoyed this incredible history lesson. Special thanks to Chanel Requires DLC for letting us feature them on this site. If you’re interested in checking out another one of their Pixels to Polygons videos you can watch their Metroid video here and their Legend of Zelda video here.

Metal Gear Solid is out now for the PS1. It is part of the PlayStation Classic. Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3 were released on the PS2, PS3 and Xbox 360. Metal Gear Solid 4 was released exclusively on the PS3.